Saturday, March 28, 2015

Remove Kraken Insert Locus-less Existential Colonial Terror

It's likely that Lovecraft got the idea for Cthulhu from Tennyson's Kraken:

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.

...which does paint a picture.

If Noisms' Yoon-Suin can be boiled down to:

Tibet, yak ghosts, ogre magi, mangroves, Nepal, Arabian Nights, Sorcery!, Bengal, invertebrates, topaz, squid men, slug people, opiates, slavery, human sacrifice, dark gods, malaise, magic.

....then a poem should be more than sufficient to describe a setting.

I imagine a Cthulhu game set in Martinique, with the tone set by Aimé Césaire's not entirely unKrakenlike Lagoonal Calendar (as translated by Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith)

I inhabit a sacred wound
I inhabit imaginary ancestors
I inhabit an obscure will
I inhabit a long silence
I inhabit an irremediable thirst
I inhabit a one-thousand-year journey
I inhabit a three-hundred-year war
I inhabit an abandoned cult
between bulb and bubil I inhabit an unexplored space
I inhabit not a vein of the basalt
but the rising tide of lava
which runs back up the gulch at full speed
to burn all the mosques
I accommodate myself as best I can to this avatar
to an absurdly botched version of paradise
- it is much worse than a hell -
I inhabit from time to time one of my wounds
Each minute I change apartments
and any peace frightens me

whirling fire
ascidium like none other for the dust of strayed worlds
having spat out my fresh-water entrails
a volcano I remain with my loaves of words and my secret minerals

I inhabit thus a vast thought
but in most cases I prefer to confine myself
to the smallest of my ideas
or else I inhabit a magical formula
only its opening words
the rest being forgotten
I inhabit the ice jam
I inhabit the ice melting
I inhabit the face of a great disaster
I inhabit in most cases the driest udder
of the skinniest peak - the she-wolf of these clouds -
I inhabit the halo of the Cactaceae
I inhabit a herd of goats pulling
on the tit of the most desolate argan tree
To tell you the truth I no longer know my correct address
Bathyale or abyssal
I inhabit the octopuses' hole
I fight with the octopus over an octopus hole

Brother lay off
a kelpy mess
twining dodder-like
or unfurling porana-like
it's all the same thing
which the wave tosses
to which the sun leeches
which the wind whips
sculpture in the round of my nothingness

The atmospheric or rather historic process
even it if makes certain of my words sumptuous
immeasurably increases my plight.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Twenty Quick 10th-Level Weirdoes

Crowdsourced here by like me and 15 other people.

1. Einethan Sload
HP 28
AC as leather +1
Lt Crossbow: d6, Dagger: d4, 3 doses Red lotus paste poison: Save or hallucinate that are a large lightweight ball and must move like one.
Sload is a sneering weaseling moocher raised in a SnailQuarter orphanage who has acquired his position through blackmail and graft.

2. Grundum Razoreye
HP 22
AC as chain
Greataxe: d10, 7 silver pieces, a sparrow's egg in a box he's trying to keep warm.
Grundum went on one campaign and never stops talking about it, though he never mentions that he slipped away at the first sickening sight of blood.

3. "Lizardman Pronounced Geoƒƒory"
HP 65
AC as chainmail
Hooked sword d8 (10% chance oƒ disarming opponent on hit), Spear made oƒ own shed tail d8 (+d8 iƒ wielder leaps at opponent)
Lizardman Pronounced Geoƒƒory was an illiterate lizardman nobody beƒore he was press-ganged to slave aboard a pirate ship, where he rose to become ƒirst-mate and tyrannical grammar nazi.

4. Sister Devleen, AKA "The Bad Habit"
HP: 37
AC as Plate
Has a (war)hammer and all she sees is nails. (d6 Damage)
Sister Devleen wants to kick ass in the name of all that is good and just, but her Detect Evil spell is always wrong.

5. Ping
HP 36
AC as Leather +1
Hook Swords (2): 1d8 and have an advantage on disarming opponents
Ping is a quiet man covered in scars, as he repays any ill dealt to him ten-fold (but also does the same with kindness)

6. Rogelio Poole
HP 26
AC as Chainmail and shield
Battle Axe 1d8, a wine skin full of whiskey.
Rogelio is a man of little humor and is a sucker for strong alcohol, often going into battle inebriated.  

7. Dolph, "Avenger of the Silver Glade"
Assassin, posing as a Ranger
HP 40
AC as Studded Leather
Scimitar +1, short bow, 40 arrows, dagger ("Mr. Stabby" +3 evil sapient weapon that has %10 per night of forcing Dolph to kill a nearby human)
Dolph hires out as an outsized, foppish ranger while looking for a way to be rid of the increasingly bossy Mr. Stabby, who has made stealthy work impossible for the assassin.

8. Iofe the Stote
28 hp
AC as Dex 12; +1 ring
Sling: d4, Staff: d4
+1 Ring of protection, Black Silk Robes, Mask of Asura(grants low light vision when worn), sack of 4 Black Lotus Leaves, coin pouch.
A laconic prodigy sold to the priests of Asura and inundated into their mysteries; she is tasked with bringing the light of Asura to the West. She has long abandoned this mandate to learn the greater dark powers of the uncivilized world.

9. Sir Kenelm Digby
Fighter/Magic User (Lv9/1)
HP 41
AC as partial plate
Basket hilt Sword (1d8 blade/1d4 punching), brace of flintlock pistols, Powder of Sympathy (heals wounds by application to the weapon that caused them, his own invention)

Thinks of himself as a fascinatingly multi faceted scholar (and is an FRS), is actually an arrogant, opinionated oaf.

10. Hapa U, slug-man wizard, 21 HP

1st Light, Sleep, Charm Person, Read Languages
2nd Phantasmal Forces. ESP, Knock
3rd Fly, Dispel Magic, Clairvoyance
4th Confusion, Hallucinatory Terrain, Polymorph Self
5th Magic Jar, Contact Higher Plane

Saffron robe chased with amethysts, worth 1000sp to the right buyer
Magic silver dagger, targets stabbed glow faintly silver for d6 hours
Strange necklace, provides improved invisibility 1/day
Scroll: Teleport
Satchel with clay pipe, 2d6 doses of randomly selected drugs under pamphlets

Hapa U, the preoccupied and thoughtful Head of the Society of Resplendent Veil (an acomist philosophical organization) , will pay well for hallucinogens of any sort.

11. The Ever Watchful and Much Graceful Eye
HP 19
AC as chain +2
Iron whip of chastisement (1D6 + save v. paralysis), blessed sliver chain burial shroud, book of the Dead Eye (read aloud to cause 'fear' or 'confusion' 30' radius - save vs. spells to avoid effect, reader saves at +2)
The Ever Watchful is a frail, hateful old thing, so wrinkled and sore that it insists on being carried in a sedan chair by six voiceless musclebound novices and constantly complains about its age, digestion, the decline of the world's moral standards and the failings of everyone and everything around in a witty, cruel and insightful manner.

12. Lefty Lucy
Warlock (Witch)
HP: 36
AC: As Leather +1
Nail-Bat (1d8+2 Damage, breaks on a natural 20 or a natural 1, both results count as a crit), Pouch of paralysis darts (no damage, target must save or be paralyzed for 1d6 rounds), Thug Whistle (Blowing the whistle summons 1d6+2 Demonic Bruisers with stats equal to men-at-arms except they have 20 HP each and are resistant to normal weapons. Bruisers will leave after one hour. Can be used once a day), Book of Favors (A book where Lucy records every favor she is owed, about a dozen come from some of the most powerful beings in the multiverse).

Lefty Lucy is an elderly, dimension hopping service industry tycoon who dresses in an odd combination of frilly Lolita dresses and biker leathers.

13. "Scabby" Jack Blanche
HP 29
AC as leather +1
Lt Crossbow: d6, Rapier that can turn into a toothpick 1d6, swarm of trained bees living under his hat.
Despite the name, Jack is a handsome young rogue who travels through circles above his social rank (while wearing high heels).

14. Dolphin Blaster the Apocalypse Son
HP 41
AC as plate +1
harpoon: d8 and all aquatic animals of 4HD or less must save or explode, short sword d6
A man with a one-of-a-kind accent who believes himself to be the antichrist.

15. Hideyaki Hiroshu
Alice (Alistair)
HP 25
AC as leather +3
Staff: d6, Hardened Bowl (thrown): d4; 2d4 smokebombs; 1d4 herbal poultices
Hideyaki appears as a poor, wizened old man; he uses his disarming appearance, rapid movement, and prepared traps and devices to "teach life lessons" - often for the pure joy of chaos.

16. Ulan Simbalis
HP 30
AC unarmored, poor Dexterity
An old man in traditional Merlin garb: robes sewn with constellations and astrological symbols; a pointed hat; a telescope.
Spells: 1/day: Confuse Fate: Two targets within 30 feet swap their hitpoint totals for 10 rounds; Weight of Jupiter: all within a 50' radius experience a gravity a little over twice normal (its harder to move, harder to wield weapons, arrows dont fly as far, people in heavy armor are immobilized, and so on); Bad Cosmos: Up to ten targets within 50' are afflicted with crippling knowledge of the vastness of the universe and are stunned for one round and must make a difficult Wisdom save or lose 1d20 Wisdom points; if they make the save they gain 1d6 Wisdom points instead; Monks are immune.
1/week: Black Eye: Ulan Simbalis may transform his left eye into a black hole for 10 rounds: he creates a zero gravity zone within thirty feet of his eye; as an extra action on his turn he may draw anything within that zone into his eye - a target is drawn up to thirty feet towards him and make a Dex save to avoid taking 1d20 damage, automatically repeated each round unless the target somehow extricates themself. _Shooting Star_ : Ulan Simbalis transforms into a tiny flaming star and twinkles up into the atmosphere and travels at nearly light-speed to his destination (within 1000 miles). This torches the area around him when he transforms for 10d6 damage, save for half.

edit: a little long, I got excited. Not sure how to write a simple wizard.

17. Grobo the Liverpuncher
(Half Goblin/ Half Halfling)
HP 32
AC as leather +2
Cloak of Shadows (improves ability stealth and hiding roles).
+3 Silver Short Sword of Wounding: d6 +3; causes 2 damage per following round. On a roll of a 20 his strike has pierced the liver, causing an extra 2d6 damage)
6 powders of Mischief Making (3 dose itching (save or -4 on all attacks fro d4 rounds), 3 doses of vomiting (save or -3 on all attacks and -4 on charisma rolls for d10 rounds).
4 bottles of perfume (Grobo suffers from chronic flatulence issues.)
10 caltrops
(Bag filled will skeletons of various rodents, polished and preserved).
Miniature silver spoon and kettle, that will grow on command

Grobo is an ugly creature, with a broken nose, and a mouth of jagged teeth. However, he is very well dressed (he favors black and red colors, and wears a black robin-hood style hat with a red feather) and an excellent orator. Beyond his thievery skills, he is also an excellent cook (soups are his specialties.) 

18. Robhal Ford
Finesse fighter
AC as studded leather +1
Rapier d8 & offhand whip d4
Known locally as the "leather rebel", Robhal is the pitfighter with best attention to detail in all of Tethalia: each stud on his armour and cap is shaped in the likeness of a foe he's bested.

19.  Thuddenin Ops
AC as chain +shield
Grappling hook on a chain d8
The smacking bastress, priestess of Ooolt, Lord of All That Tumbles and Sprays and falls with hissing noises. Owns a pony with the symbol of her god branded feet-wide across the flank.

20. Slocking Slinne Hoothe
AC as unarmored plus 1
Dagger d4 Net
Slocking experiments with glass spheres, each contains a spell but they are poorly labelled due to a curse picked up in the Nachtenstan Orches during the Underseason. In a panic, she may throw three or four at once.

Monday, March 23, 2015

It Was 2015. They Hated Things.

I just googled "I hate (name of game here)" and put the first result that came up.

I told him that I hated 13th Age, but he claimed that it has gotten much better with the second iteration of the playtest and sent me the doc. I opened it and went right to the "Blur spell, and sure enough it's still a percentage miss chance. Once again, I immediately deleted the doc, wrote the game off as an utter piece of garbage and told my former friend to lose my contact info, before deleting him from my facebook friend's list.

I hate D&Ds combat system.  Hey guys. So I've got a problem. I hate the combat system of D&D, and my players do as well. I feel like it is just slow and boring. We are having a great time role playing and doing story stuff, which is awesome. Then for whatever reason we need to switch over to a combat encounter, which almost feels like a different game.

"i hate world of darkness and i hate everyone who likes world of darkness and you have to work your fucking ASS off to prove you’re an exception to me" I especially hate how proudly the fandom and devs both run right back into the arms of racist shit they already “apologozed” (sic) for instead of trying to actually move past it.

I hate Rifts quite a bit, but Wormwood is a fantastic supplement that I've transferred over to both a Dark Sun and an Apocolypse (sic) World game.

Now, I hate Shadowrun with a passion, so can someone please explain the appeal? If you like the Cyberpunk Genre, you would play Cyberpunk and stay true to it, if you want to be a combat twink you would play Shadowrun? Please, I don't understand.  [Disclaimer: Yes I really am sorta trying to start a flamewar. But the question is legitimate, my entire gaming group is confused by the appeal of Shadowrun.  On that note. FIGHT!]

Not because I have a grudge, but because I already have an edition that's awesome. If I hate 5e, my decision will be that much easier!

 Why should anyone have reason vote for what is nothing more than an extended joke to make money deserve an award. I hate Hackmaster. Best RPG of 2001? You have to be F*CKING kidding --get a grip. Best RPG of 2001? Somebody rationalise that. Go on. I dare you. You cannot. There is no way that you can. Hackmaster and its eight Monster sodding Manuals? That's called a rip off. By the way... I should not type this. I am drunk.

I hate 3.5 wildshape.

I hate Marvel Heroic, but the Doom Pool mechanic was interesting enough in concept I'd like to see it revisited somewhere else.

To be perfectly honest, I hate Star Wars. I think the movies [are bad] and are completely uninteresting. But this book is a different story altogether. It brings to life what the movies can't. The writing is superb. Highly Recommended!! (Review of WOTC's Star Wars Heroes' Guide, 2003)

Yeah, I hate retroclones too, such shitty copies of REAL D&D.
(I think this one was sarcastic)

I Hate Feng Shui
No, I actually don't. But I need advice. I am part of an incredibly small gaming group (three total players including myself). One guy loves investigations, mysteries, and character interaction, while the other pretty much just likes to kill things. I'm somewhere in the middle, I guess. 

I like Ken Hite's work (I bought Trail even though I hate Gumshoe). 

Basically I'm just taking the Tager concept and making a nWoD fansplat out of it because I fucking loved them (what >>35716959 said) but I hate CthulhuTech's clunky bullshit system that rips off the worst parts of oWoD and Exalted. Then adds DICE POKER.

Actually, I hate 4E because, flat out, it doesn't allow me to build the characters I want.

 I hate Dungeon World's lack of clarity, and well not being able to roll dice as a GM makes me feel useless.

I hate Gamma World. I like postapocalyptic, but GW is postapocalyptic the way Tomb of Horrors is medieval fantasy. A friend and I actually had Jim Ward run a game of Gamma World for us at a con and it sucked and I refuse to say any more about it.

For the record, I don't hate C&C. I have never said that I hate C&C. What I do dislike, rather strongly, is the One True Wayism of a lot of C&C players (who have accused me of OTWism, but it's simply not true; I acknowledge my preferences as preferences, not laws of nature). I think it's an interesting game, fun in its own way, useful for certain purposes. Those purposes, to me, do not include campaign play.

i hate champions: im sorry i just dont like this kind of rpg anyone recommend a good one for about 30 bucks???

So, I hate Rolemaster but I love MERP. 

I hate MERP with a fiery passion. It's the system that ensured that my wife never wants to be involved in any RPGs ever again, after being forced through character gen for the first time ever by some friends, who thought it was the ultimate RPG. Since I hadn't played it myself, I wasn't able to warn them that it was far too complex for someone as maths-phobic as she is.

This is why I hate Eclipse Phase.

I hate Apocalypse World, because it's ruined all other Roleplaying (sic) games for me.

Why i Hate Warhammer: Fantasy
Because I want all the armies. I love my High Elves and Ogres, but I also want Skaven, Orcs and Goblins, Dwarfs, Tomb Kings, Wood Elves, Chaos (both Daemons and Warriors), Lizardmen, and Vampire Counts. I could play any of those armies quite happily. 

The reason I hate WFRP 3 is that they killed something great for something mediocre. 

Which is exactly why I hate Call of Cthulhu.
Should not.
A statistic.

Well, not FATE per se.  It’s a handy enough little minimalist game system.  But I hate all the FATE fanboys.

Why I hate Warhammer Fans. I think it should be obvious by now that while I really like Warhammer 40,000, I can't stand the fans. 

Too bad I hate Dark Heresy's (and the other 40k FFG RPGs) mechanics.

So yeah in short: I hate Pathfinder. While I'm here and since I'm a notoriously bad roller: I hate Traveller. Just let me play my character concept.

I hate Burning Wheel, but this is a really cool idea. Never thought of it like this before. 

No results found for "i hate vornheim".

And when it's time to spend karma on rolls, I hate FASERIP.

I hate AD&D and let me tell you why. 9 out of 10 HANDPICKED idiots who suggested reasons for this or that aren't as good as I am at finding fault with the HANDPICKED reasons - though I won't dare touch the good suggestions, or offer exhaustive counter POVs for the majority of justifications given for the rules. Get Real.
(I think this was sarcastic, hard to tell.)

I hate Dogs in the Vineyard and Wushu. Hate. Them. If I could give them voices, light them on fire and listen to them scream as they burned, it would give me pleasure.

Power-Driving in Roleplaying Campaigns (or why I hate Exalted even more).

I hate Pendragon because although it's fantasy but it still uses a map of Britain, implying it's history.

You know what I hate? Marvel Super Heroes. See, there's this one guy called Mephisto who is super powerful and wants to corrupt my character from the very start. And he has all sorts of attacks and resources to pretty much do whatever he wants.
(Sarcastic again. They was trying to prove a point about Exalted, I think.)

Re: Why I hate Traveller

I hate 40k because I disagree with how gw does business 11% [ 29 ]
I hate 40k because the prices are outrageous 9% [ 24 ]
I hate 40k because the rules are crap 11% [ 29 ]
I hate 40k because all of my friends have been driven away from playing due to one of the hate options  3%

I am probably one of the few people who will say this. I hate Werewolf.

Savage Worlds? Darn... I hate Savage Worlds. :(
Oh well, doesn't mean I don't still love you guys. Just that I won't support the RPG.

And I hate Ars Magica grognards who hate 3rd edition.

 I was pissed that I bought it because I could not make any sense out of it at all. I even understood Wraith better than Changeling, and I hate Wraith also. 

 I hate Blue Rose and Exalted, for what it's worth, but if they work for a certain type of audience and expand the hobby, great. 

I hate GURPS magic alot too. I'd recommend just using Superpowers for spells instead. Pay the price of the Superpower/Level to acquire the  ...

I Hate Traveller. I don't actively play the game anymore but I haven't given up on it altogether.  In fact in my pursuit of becoming a science fiction author I use the Traveller rules in all its versions as a framework for sanity attempting to keep the science in science fiction.  

Well, I dunno if I'd say I hate Vampire. No, check that--I wouldn't. Hate's an awfully strong word, and frankly, anyone who can work themselves up to genuine hatred over a game needs some serious anger management classes, IMO. That said: I don't particularly enjoy the game, and here's why:

[Missing image file: 1361376150264.jpg]
This is why I hate Mutants and Masterminds.
I have never meat (sic) a group not shitty enough to pull their shit together and avoid pic related.
(4chan--no idea what the picture is)

After all this, I wouldn't say that I hate Numenera. I just was expecting more. There's nothing that stands out as being new or innovative, either with the setting or the system. It's not bad, there is just nothing about it that stands out at all.

But I hate LOTFP and OSR. I just think that people should know that, well, THEY LET A FUCKING CHILD RAPIST ON THEIR STAFF AND ARE PUTTING REFERRAL LINKS TO SELL CARTOON CP before anyone starts patting them on the back for getting mad at something less worse than what they already did. 
(I love that someone somewhere thinks LOTFP has a staff and that that is sentences.)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Controversial Figure In American Playful Landscape

So the eminent gameologist Jerome Larre asked me to participate in his game design series "5 Things I Learned Working On..." for the French gaming site Tartofrez--previous participants include Emily Care-Boss, of Breaking the Ice and some French RPG authors behind games like Inflorenza and Brigade Chimérique.

Since much of this is stuff I think I have already said on this blog, I thought I'd spice it up by posting not my original text (which you can read here if you're into the whole clarity thing ), but Google translate's fantastically creative retranslation of Jerome Larre's French translation of my English:

5 Tips: Red & Pleasant Land

RPLAs the excellent Vornheim before him, Red & Pleasant Land is a supplement for the least original for the game Lamentations of the Flame Princess . Built on the same approach, namely the proliferation of tools and tables to generate massive amounts of content rather than the description of a unique vision in stone, this supplement is tackling a whole country: Country wonders. If you play DnD or one of its clones, I know too advise you to take a look. Even if you do not use that as an inspiration is once again with Vornheim a playbook model filled to the brim with equipment directly playable.
About the author, S. Zak is an understatement to say that this is a controversial figure in American playful landscape. Having been initially known for his show I hit it with my shaft and his websiteDnD with pornstars , for several years he is regularly at the center of several controversies. The most ridiculous of all is to blame Wizards of the coast to have done part in the latest edition of DnDWe will do simple: it is not the subject today or will be tomorrow.By cons, if I asked to kindly participate in it "5 Things" is because I find that it produces very marked supplements with real style, particularly effective and playable. In general, it also has some interesting thoughts that are permitted by a freedom of tone and thought it particularly welcome at a time when it is difficult to publicly agree or disagree with someone without forces us to have to take the card of a particular chapel.
Besides, I want to copy here the warning that I put in the English version of the interview on the last of his 5 tips: 
+ this post expresses the views of Zak S. Not mine; 
it + said, I am delighted that he expresses them here and thank him; 
+ if anyone wants to express a different opinion on how a particular community helped on a specific project, you only need to write a " 5 tips "on it and I'll probably just as happy to publish it. The multiplicity of perspectives is part of the very concept of this series of posts, 
+ While the objective of tartofrez is not and will never be the cares of internal policy designers RPG US, I feel that this last point is particularly interesting that we, French often have a tendency to see the US scene as a monolithic and homogeneous whole.
In short, Zak just share 5 tips that he learned in Bossant on   Red & Pleasant Land  !
To discover Red & Pleasant Land  : 
To discover the site of Zak:  DnD with pornstars

0. Introduction

Red & Pleasant Land has sold very well. Within two weeks, he told me enough to pay a little more than a year's rent in downtown Los Angeles. In addition, every week, I receive messages from people who explain to me that they were able to use it to do things that I had not anticipated. More importantly, I continue to use it during my weekly sessions. This is the "thing gamer" produced independently which quickly sold this season.
This success allowed me to make sure that the 5 tips below were based.

1. Do not do things fairly well. Make them good!

In large companies RPGs, someone order something, another writing, then they return both at home and a third person did the illustrations. And it's even someone else - who has also often never played an RPG in his life - which is responsible for the layout. Conversely, small boxes, a person who wants to design a game does and then handles all other tasks, but in a somewhat mediocre because its main objective is primarily to demonstrate that it can design one game. Or go out on time.
In practice, this means that each product is usually about someone, somewhere in the chain wanted to do. More or less. And people read it and say it's almost good. But even those who wrote it does not use it.
I must say that things that are pretty much what you want, they already exist. If you want to play almost in the style of a book by Thomas Ligotti (an American horror writer), you can use Call of Cthulhu . If you want to about the District 9 , you Cyberpunk . In short, your new only useful if it is very widely and relentlessly new and specific. It should be exactly what you had in mind, right down to the last detail illustrations, rules or presentation. She has no interest if she just look like it would any RPG book dealing with the same theme. Your readers do not want to buy yet another game, just to learn the rules. They want to continue to play the games they already love, that is why they are part of the community.
So, do something that is so irresistible - at all levels - that reason comes more into play!

2. Write on a topic for which you are willing to read up

I have not had to read Lewis Carroll to write Red & Pleasant Land . I had the pleasure to read Lewis Carroll to write Red & Pleasant Land . Resume each passage by asking me, "How do I make a new monster? "Was great fun. Almost a game in itself. If you do not have fun you documenting a priori it means that you should be writing something else.
Once I had the idea (probably a bit silly) to make a game in the style of D & D that could have been summed up against Dracula Elizabeth Bathory in Wonderland. The ideas have multiplied during preparation. Of course, Elizabeth Bathory resumed the role of the Queen of Heart. Obviously, valet Cœurqui stole her pies was a high-level thief. The puddings were true puddings (types of monsters) in the largest donjonesque tradition, etc.
If you read a dense material interesting, well written and exciting, if it has a voice of its own, the ideas will multiply in your head. If your documentation is to browse some texts that do not excite you, they do not inspire you more. There are a few years, I have learned as a painter that if you did not like the phones it was better not to have them appear on the image. It's exactly the same with writing. Do not write on a subject you do not want to read (or at least you do not want to find out one way or another ... if your game speaks parachute, bail !).
The documentation should not be an obligation. If there are parts of your project that you did not like to discover, this will feel and the best is to remove them directly. Anyone can do his homework. We, we want only the parts that you loved.

3. The graphic design is terrible. And, yes, it counts.

You know the difference between a book and a blog post? You can have the same mechanical and even the same images, but a blog that will make thousands of people fly over your ideas a book where they will read them, criticize them, talk with, will play and you send emails to their subject.
Why? This is not really due to printing or paper, as many people now buy PDF. So where does that come from? Graphic design and information management. This makes the object easier to use when you're actually playing. This is very important, a game book must be both a book and a component of that same game.
The problem is that the layout takes time. An eternity. Red & Pleasant Land was completely illustrated and written two years before the model is complete. And it is far from the only book in this case. I saw the full text of Broodmother Sky Fortress there are years when the game is still not out. Why?Because graphic design is hell incarnate and it takes forever.
The reasons are partly economic. Most designers are working on several projects at once and roleplayers commands simply pay enough to climb to the top of the stack.
What you can do? Unless you instruct personally problems are ahead and be as explicit as possible. Do not rely on the designer to remember that this tea cup should be positioned next to the sheep. Draw the cup and sheep on the same piece of paper. Otherwise, you'll need three more weeks for the change to take effect and that the designer put the cup next to the sheep. But it's not his fault. This week he has eight other assholes to manage, with eight other cups and eight sheep.

4. Most of the tips are zero, but are not tips

Here's a tip given to me by one of the authors freelancers less respected in the world of the game: " As much as possible, do not answer directly to criticism. At best, it's a zero-sum game that will change anyone's opinion. At worst, it still makes you look like a moron over the person who criticizes you. "
Other opinions: 
+ " Girls do not play D & D! Do not waste time writing for them ! 
+ " Do not write an additional D & D Alice in Wonderland! This has already been done! " 
+ " Be nice to the guys that crap about women in your group. They are also customers! " 
+ " Do not write games for the old. The rules do not work. Women and young people do not play . 
+ " Find a graphic design works and copy it! " 
+ " You need _____ on your blanket. "
All those who gave me this advice supposed to help me sell my book wrong. It is now a fact. No matter who it was. I did the opposite of what they told me and my book has sold more than theirs. And I'm not even a designer game. The reason is that they gave me was not really advice, but just their opinion.Some particularly social misfits like idiots formulate their opinions as advice or general truths to give them more strength, so that you do not be afraid to do what they want you to do. It is quite possible to give advice based on facts and experience - I hope this is what I'm doing - but they did nothing of the sort.
So when someone tells you that what you do will not work, ask a proof. If you can not provide it, follow the advice of William Burroughs: Do not say anything nice to inadequate social gamer; it's a bottomless pit. Tell him firmly, "I am not paid to listen to this nonsense - you are an idiot of the worst kind. »

5. The independent community is appalling, but that does not matter.

Since almost the beginning of the Internet, people are talked about RPGs table. Many members of the indie community is always been there but have not managed to do anything. They created a strange dynamic: the more they fail, the longer they hang around on forums (etc.), the more one identifies as a voice-to-day, plus they make friends in agreement and are streamed online. In other words, they spent more time to fear the rod, they get more respect. It is the biggest fish of a tiny dry pond.
But the good news is that these people just do not matter. At all. Just before my book came out, I inveighed one of the main and oldest Voice-who-have editing RPG Indie: Fred Hicks ( FATE , Evil Hat, etc.). The latter had thrown a conservative attack in good standing against gambling Kingdom DeathFrench readers are perhaps unaware, but Americans are sometimes frantically conservative on everything related to sexuality, even those who claim the left. This is particularly exacerbated in the community gamer because many RPG American indie designers have never slept with anyone, or, I suppose, only with farm animals. To give you an idea, look at what did Tipper Gore in music or Frederic Wertham in comics.
Still, Hicks and his friends then orchestrated a campaign of harassment misogynist with some forum trolls who accused us of bizarre crimes against people taking women in my group. All those who have had a day against something that porn actresses playing D & D got involved. These sexist attacks began this summer and continue today. In short, not only independent community did not support me or do not talk about my project, but has actively worked against me. Even the designers of indie games that had purchased and enjoyed the game was afraid to talk about it and it attracts them problems with their friends.
Looking at the sales figures, it looks like they have helped me more than anything else. They bark but do not bite. They are harmless. So yes, do what you want and do not let shit in the boots.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

They Are Like A Shadow In The Afternoon

So I was going through the Monster Manual redoing all of the monsters…then I got to blights.

I hate blights. So boring. I mean: I'll use a creeper vine if I got nothing else, or this grabbing tentacle grass Moebius drew…
But they're just not interesting to me. I mean--moving plant monsters.
The Alan Moore idea that the plant monster doesn't know it's a plant is interesting. But that kind of thing doesn't really translate to gains at the table for the thing as a foe. I mean--one of them could be that way and you could build a whole drama around this Arcimboldo fucker who keeps trying to live a normal life and terrifying the village. But I already did that with the Hollow Bride--which I like much better.

Anyway point is I have no will to improve or examine blights--and for that I apologize. In compensation, here are like 60 plant monsters people made up when I first hit my blight block.

Seriously--they're good. I like Anthony's fetus in a pumpkin.

So, I am defeated and will just skip to the next monster…

Bugbears. Fuck.

What do you do with that? It isn't a bug it isn't a bear. I always think of this guy:

I got enough going on in my life that making that scary seems like some whole extra masochistic suck.

any source, real or imaginary, of needless fright or fear.
a persistent problem or source of annoyance.
Folklore. a goblin that eats up naughty children.

So this is like a farmer-scaring monster. Which would be fine if we didn't already have goblins, hobgoblins, trolls, ogres…it's a crowded niche.

Josh Billings said, in his book "Animated Natur"

Natral History has its myths and its ghosts, az well az enny boddy else, and foremost among these iz — the buggbear. 
The bugg bear iz born from an imaginary edd and iz hatched by an imaginary process. 
They are like a shadow in the afternoon, always a good deal bigger than the thing that easts it. 
They are compozed ov two entirely different animals, the bugg and the bear but generally turn out to be pretty much all bug. 
They are like the assetts on a bankrupt broker, the more you examine them, the smaller they grow. 
I have known them tew cum out ov a hole like a mice, and grow in tew minnits az big az an elephant, and then run back agin into the same hole they cum out ov. 
They are like a young wild pigeon in their habits, the biggest when they are first born. 
They are common to all country s and all peoples, the philosophers hav seen them az often az the children hav, and ben as badly skared by them. 
They are az innocent az a rag doll, but are az fall ov deviltry az a jack lantern. 
Bugg bears are az plenty in this world az pins on the side walks, but noboddy ever sees them but those folks who are alwus hunting for them. 

So he was drunk.

Here's a picture of one from the play The Buggbear:

Obviously drawn by someone drunk.

I need a drink. Hold on…

Keepp holding on.

Ok, on further reflection and my third Dr Peper, Dr Pepper Imean and rum. That sounds dumb: "Rum and Cherry Dr Pepper "I mean, I have decided this:

The buggbear is likt hat ogre cannibal guy up there with the saddle shoes on.

So the bugbear sneaks around and eats babies. And had some kind of bad gremlin magic.

You can only see him if you are drunk. But--the more drunker you are the bigger he does become. And the higher level spells he can cast. Also he could eat gooses.


Thank you all for your time, next time is bullettes!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Some Native American D&Dables

Cannibal Bird

If a Cannibal Bird is fated to appear and quick motivation is needed, a d20 may be thrown to determine what exactly the creature thinks it's up to:
  1. Hunting humans to eat. It will likely attack.
  2. Feasting on corpses. If the party was looking for someone, here they are.
  3. Harassing a cannibal. The bird is tormenting a Cannibal Dancer or Untamed Wind for its own amusement.
  4. Reminiscing"I remember you, or perhaps an ancestor, hm... Tell me the story of when I last met you, man-thing."
  5. Bored. Simply bored, the creature will banter until it gets hungry.
  6. Acting out an ancient drama. The Wind that Bites from the Dark once instrumented a great calamity here, or slew a great hero. The bird wishes to reenact this, and you arrived just in time to facilitate. Roll reaction to determine how dangerous a role it has in mind.
  7. Making war. There are two cannibal birds here either fighting each other or engaging in a contest (roll again to determine its character).
  8. Witnessing savagery. The bird has heard of a great cruelty or tragedy, natural or man-made, occurring or about to occur, which it wishes to observe. If none manifests it will create one, figuring that it itself must be the cause, though it did not know this beforehand.
  9. Destroying man-made objects. The bird is tearing down buildings, defacing sculptures, altering trail signs, or otherwise warping humanity's mark on the environment.
  10. Dressing itself in grave goods. The beast is pulling clothing from a corpse or pile of refuse, which it will proceed to wear incorrectly. It solicits opinions on its aspect from any onlookers. Anything other than excessive flattery angers it.
  11. Hiding and observing. You are being watched really obviously, but without interference. It is far too big to hide behind that bush, or far too humanoid to perch on that branch. It leaves after a few turns, but only if unacknowledged.
  12. Pretending to be a human. The bird wants to play at being a headman; you will be the slaves. It wants you to construct a makeshift village out of found materials (or occupy an abandoned one) and go through the drudgery of daily life. In a day or two it will get bored and just wander off.
  13. Telling a lie. There is a very specific thing it needs to tell to you and only you. This thing is absolutely untrue; assuming otherwise leads to catastrophe.
  14. Building something. The bird is constructing a sculpture or effigy (d6: 1. giant spiky nest, 2. wicker man, 3. intricate maze, 4. wooden cages dangling from branches, 5. mosaic of many colors, 6. elaborate gauntlet of traps and snares) from detritus & human remains. It may ask a critique, or force intruders to assist in finding the perfect finishing piece.
  15. Doesn't remember"I have forgotten my purpose here. You tell me." It attacks if the answer is completely against its nature but otherwise follows the instruction exactly.
  16. Asking questions. The bird has questions about the nature of humanity. It has no context whatsoever with which to understand the answer and will become frustrated and angry when it doesn't.
  17. Learning to be a human"Teach me to be like you." It copies the player's actions exactly, becoming angry if the player performs an action it cannot.
  18. Collecting shinies"You have many shiny objects. Give me all of them." All of these are immediately put to use as self-adornment, or littered on the ground (equal chance).
  19. Starting fires. The bird starts a fire, fans it with its wings, watches it burn for a moment or a day, and then puts it out again, over and over and over. It only acknowledges intruders if interrupted.
  20. Singing to the sky. Carrion birds circle overhead as the bird caws a semi-intelligible tune at the sky. Any human copying the song finds that it incites birds to attack them suddenly, which causes the Cannibal Bird to laugh. It attacks if any of these birds are injured, but does not otherwise do harm. The song continues to work long after the meeting but cannot be taught to others.
Like that?

I didn't write it. Antion did. He is one of the best writers in RPGs. It's from his blog Straits of Anian.

Here's the rest:

Four of these imperious beings, the most coherent pieces of the Cannibal Wind to coalesce from her corpse after its dispersal, are known. Each with obvious vanity claims to be a singular and unique entity, though there are reports of the same bird appearing in multiple places at once or successively at great distance.

All Cannibal Birds inflict Soul Loss on a damage roll of 6 and may summon freezing winds as a Superhero of the Dance of the Cannibal Wind. Each may also vary its size, often appearing quite small, or take on human form. Occasionally they appear in disturbing intermediate states, as if they cannot quite recall what separates man from bird. Human forms always receive the bonuses of cannibal frenzy without any associated restriction on behavior or appearance. Each cannibal bird has been slain several times, though they always reappear. Nothing known can slay them permanently.

Their names and shapes are:

Łətiʔən (Poison Hummingbird) the Skin-Stripper, who appears as:
• a thick-beaked hummingbird the size of a large dog, its face smeared with gore, or
• a small child crying and covered with what appears to be blood but is in fact a corrosive resin.
[HD 6, AC 4(15), Bite d6 plus save or d6 poison, 1-3 acid damage on touch.]

Kəykəẃəqəs (Corpses Crow) the Eye-Plucker, who appears as:
• two wicked-looking crows nearly man-sized moving in oddly mirrored motions, or
• a pair of twin youths, one boy and one girl, who finish each other's sentences and are both compulsive liars.
[HD 8, AC 5(14), Bite d6, two bodies acting independently with a single Hit Point pool.]

Huqʷhuqʷ (Crane Cackle) the Skull-Cracker, who appears as:
• a monstrous crane, fully 12ft tall on its stilt legs, that thrusts its beak at foes from above seeking to split open skulls, or
• an uncannily tall, long-fingered man of meticulous aspect & grim humor who may be plied with brains, which he finds delectable.
[HD 8, AC 5(14), Bite d6+4 reach 10ft.]

Qəčanuł (Crooked Beak) the Flesh-Tearer, who appears as:
• an ogre-sized bird of glittering iridescence with fancifully twisted beak, rigid forms writhing under its flesh as if it had all the wrong bones & each jockeying for a position of prominence, its uncanny bite twisting and snapping in all directions at once, or
• a hunchbacked crone with snaggletoothed smile, feigning weakness despite terrible strength.
[HD 10, AC 3(16), Bite d6+2, attacks all targets in range each turn.]

Cannibal Birds are most commonly seen at sites of great carnage feasting on corpses, though they may also appear anywhere in the deep wilds pursuing enigmatic ends. Though not always hostile, they are extremely capricious, and unless other interests prevail reactions should be checked anew each turn of interaction. Encounters almost inevitably end with their hunger awakened, but clever mortals occasionally escape unharmed if they figure out what game the bird is at fast enough to play along.

Treasure: Those that play along and do not irritate the Cannibal Bird receive a gift when it departs. Roll d6:
1-3. Twigs, leaves, and assorted detritus. Seemingly useless. A thorough search may reveal 4d6gp in coins and salvageable goods hidden in the trash. Or not.
4-5. Pile of suspicious meats. Strangely delectable and sweet-smelling. Equivalent to 2d6 days rations. Infects any human eating it with an Untamed Wind, other creatures are sickened (-2 to all actions). Remains perfectly preserved for a month, then rots away in moments.

6. A random magic item. Appears old and ill-used, but functional. If a magic weapon is rolled, it is automatically intelligent and possessed of a murderous avian spirit, which seeks to desecrate flesh and tear down civilization.

If you're interested in some eminent D&Dable realworld history check this out. Did you know the Russians fought the Tlingit?

He later laments that when they do, his cannonballs keep bouncing off the Tlingit fort. It was a mystery to the Russians, but not to the Kiks.ádi. They had watched the way a cannonball’s direct hit shattered seasoned wood. For this reason, Shís’ghi Noow’s walls had been built of saplings whose green and pliant wood offered a certain amount of give. The timbers were also angled and braced to disperse shock down and away, redirecting balls into pits dug to catch them. Coming ashore after the battle, Lisiansky writes that he gathered at least 150 cannonballs from around the fort walls.
Vanessa Veselka (novelist and D&D player--she played a thief with us) tells the story here and if you want to read the rest it's 3.99$.

Have fun.

(Crow picture from here)

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Arch

note to self: write spooky intro text here

Ok, so this is a simple one, you can use it in any dungeon.

There's a library or a room full of fireflies--and an arch.

On the far side of the arch there's stairs and at the bottom of the stairs a pile of people--dead on top, skeletons on the bottom, maybe some monster bites.

On the near side is your party.

Go through the arch, you get zapped with a mindstatic feedback, have a seizure, pitch forward join the pile. No save. Unconscious on top of dead people.

Party scout will probably find this out the hard way.

The bolt attacks the conscious mind. The only way to get past is by going through without any conscious mind. Basically you can get through it asleep or unconscious. Monks can go through on a successful will save or wis check or whatever mechanic you want.

One clue is the screen is used to catalogue your thoughts as you hit it. They get turned into (firefly room) a firefly or (library room) a book. Anybody reading the books or casting Speak With Insects (is that a thing? Speak with Animals. Whatever.) will find the last thought is "Ok, I'm gonna try to go through this arch…"

Friday, March 13, 2015

We're DIY D&D. We Do Good Work.

Yoon-Suin is out. This may mean nothing to you. To me it means (in the author's own words):

Tibet, yak ghosts, ogre magi, mangroves, Nepal, Arabian Nights, Sorcery!, Bengal, invertebrates, topaz, squid men, slug people, opiates, slavery, human sacrifice, dark gods, malaise, magic.

I am excited about this because Noisms has been blogging about Yoon-Suin for ages and it was the first DIY D&D setting I saw that did something truly new while maintaining its own feel throughout. Plus having Matthew Adams on the art is kind of a dream come true. This is no Oriental Adventures style pastiche, this is a fever dream of a fantastic pseudo-Asia. And anybody who reads his blog Noisms thinks about mechanics and presentation, too, so the book is going to be useful at the table, not just inspirational. Here's a review that says what I'd say. Here is one describing the contents in detail. Buy it.

This is what I use as the Exotic East in my home game.

This is 100% the kind of book the PROBLEMATIC CONTENT!!! Squad would've trashed had it come out a year ago. But this is the Year of the Goat and they are all gone now, since they fucked up so bad harassing us over 5th edition .


Fire On The Velvet Horizon is out. This is the insane folk-art D&D that the world needs and is too wretched to deserve. It's by Scrap Princess and False Patrick, and, unlike, Yoon-Suin, it has not been a long time coming. This is a stunning vortex of words and art hot on the heels of their extremely well-received (like: nobody doesn't like it) adventure Deep Carbon Observatory.

They have a fancy expensive book by a major indie publisher coming out soon and you'll be kicking yourself you didn't get these when they were cheap.

This is 100% the kind of book the Oh Noes Not Up To My Precious Precious Indie Font Nazi Standards Squad would've trashed had it come out a year ago. But this is the Year of the Goat and they are all gone now, since they fucked up so bad harassing us over 5th edition.

And lastly and not leastly, Stacy Dellorfano and Contessa--the people who brought you the best online gaming convention in the world--are organizing events for Gen Con and they have a call for women to come run games.  They've done an amazing job making RPGs less boring ever since they showed up, here's an opportunity to help out.

This is 100% a group of women who have had to weather the Oh No Not Being A Feminist The Right Way! Squad trashing them a year ago. But this is the Year of the Goat and they are all gone now, since they fucked up so bad harassing us over 5th edition.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Anna Kreider Is Actually Terrible

If you can read this Anna Kreider / Wundergeek / Go Make Me A Sandwich blog is harassing me, the women in my group, or both. Again. Here is Mandy describing how and why this happens and what you can do to stop it.

Anna is wrong. I do not know anyone who knows her well enough to say whether she knows when she responds to this (source: here) (April 2012) with this that she is distorting information.

That is: I don't know if she is consciously lying or just unable to tell lie from fact.

Like in today's blog, she claims on the one hand she never attacked us and then immediately links to a page where she falsely accuses me of shit.

"I have from time-to-time written about Zak in an anonymized fashion (i.e. "I have attacked Zak and his game group"), such as my original Gaming as Women post. But in each instance I attempted to file all of the serial numbers off of the incidents, and have always said when doing so that people SHOULD NOT name the person being discussed if they are aware of the circumstances being discussed."

Like not using the words "Zak S" somehow makes it not an attack anymore?

Like the people who harassed me and the women in my group didn't consistently link to her "Rebellious Artist" post as "evidence" we did something wrong?

Anna supported their harassment. Straight up. Every second of her life she didn't erase that post and the false claims in it, she was supporting it more.

Another example:

She goes out of her way to point out that I used her real name. Of course I did--the person I was talking to introduced her into the conversation (out of nowhere) and only used her real name. Her real name was the only name in the conversation. He said he wanted to put a product he disliked to "The Anna Kreider test", I responded (basically, full text linked above) that was kind of like the Phyllis Schlafly test.

Check the link if you think I am lying.

She also denies spreading or supporting the Something Awful libel article in a post where she links to the libel article and two retweets that support the claims in it.

You can't really get more reality-blind than that.

The rest of what she's saying has long ago been debunked. No-one has ever come forward to dispute that.

You don't have to pick who to believe, either. I will answer any question and will provide any evidence if asked. You may ask anonymously here. Anna, on the other hand, has made it a point of pride not to provide evidence.

Or just believe the victim: us.

We didn't back down from pointing out Brandon Morse's rhetoric was bigoted and we're not going to back down from pointing out Anna's is, too. If she wants to apologize for the harm it does and then attack me for pointing it out in the same breath, she has a problem.

So if you want to believe her: that's ok. But know you are believing her because you want to, not because you actually checked anything.
Oh, look, Anna has now redefined "sealioning"
as "disagreeing with Anna"


Some Leopards

"5! I go first…"
"Bring it."
"So the wolves charge from both sides toward the middle of the column and attack Hellhammer."
"Wait, all of them?"
"Yes, all of them. That's…5 hits for…22 point of damage…"
"Why are they all attacking me?"
"That's a good question. Try a Bushcraft roll…"
"I can't, I'm dead."

The animals of the Devoured Land are not like ordinary animals. Things are here as the once were and will be again--beasts intrigue like gods and understand our languages, though they generally refuse to speak, as they consider us low-caste, inessential and hideous. They hate dogs with the passion of the betrayed, and horses strike them as preening rubes.


At some point in the last century, a breeding pair of these cats imported from the East and intended for a foppish zoo escaped on the road from Rottingkroner. They have adapted well, and have learned to hunt in packs. The males have crystalline teeth. Females now prize the taste of the hands of Amazons. Honestly, they have no time for the local animals and their bullshit and just want to be left alone and/or eat them.

HD 4 HP 20 Speed Human Armor As leather+shield
3 attacks per round
-Claw: +4 to hit d4hp
-Bite: +4 to hit d8hp (Only one bite per round)
-If two claw attacks land on the same target in the same round, the leopard may make two more claw attacks on its turn.
(These stats are pretty much AD&D Monster Manual stuff)

-Snow Leopards in the Devoured Land cannot be charmed or deceived by Western magic.

-Stealth: 4 in 6.


Wants her territory free of any lifeform larger than a rabbit. She might negotiate toward this end if there's anything left to negotiate with after her drift's initial (terrifying, strategic) pounce. She has noticed that humans tend to flee when their fingers are removed, and so has learned to target them.

Unusual stats:
HD 6 HP 30 
-Finger-bite: +6 to hit d4 hp, target loses one finger per hp of damage--counts as two attacks. These do not come back with ordinary Cure Wounds spells--they require regeneration or the like. (Only one bite per round)
-Stealth: 3 in 6.


Perhaps in response to the echo of an ancestral imperative, the leopards that attend Unfolding-And-Immanent-Mercy strike primarily at merchant caravans.
Unusual stats:
HP 24 


The cats of All-Shall-Fall's drift come quietly, never revealing their number, widely dispersed. They seek to subtly terrorize and disorient--a leopard may attack once, then flee--or the drift may shadow the party for an hour, at the edge of the lines of sight in every direction, anything to unnerve intruders.

Unusual stats:
HP 24


-Stealth: 5 in 6.